SBC Amendment

The Myth of “Senior” Pastor


The BF&M 2000’s Article VI, on the Church, states in part that “Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”  It’s commonly asserted that this restriction on the office of pastor applies only to a “Senior” or “Lead” pastor.  In addition, this is commonly assumed to be the original intent and meaning of the language of the updated Article VI by the drafters of the BF&M 2000. 

But how well founded is this common understanding?  A close look at the sources of this belief shows that it is without any substance.  It is based on bad reporting and editorializing, or sources who were not members of the BF&M Study committee.

The inference that only a “senior” pastor is restricted to men in Article VI may have been motivated by the common experience of the SBC at the time.  However, the language of Article VI was motivated by, and reflects the truth of, Scripture and historic Baptist teaching.

(More on this and other issues can be found in the information paper in support of the Amendment submitted to the Executive Committee for their February 2023 meeting.)

Baptist Press First-Person Article of June 27, 2022

The most prominent source of misunderstanding Article VI comes from the SBC’s own Baptist Press (BP).  Take one widely influential example — a First-Person (F-P) article from June 27, 2022.  This article in turn relies on two earlier BP reports from 2000 at the time of the BF&M’s update.  A close look at all three articles shows how this myth of the “senior” pastor gained traction.

The June 27, 2022 F-P article argues that at the time the BF&M’s Article VI was updated the presumptive understanding, even by the framers of the update, was that the “office of pastor” meant only the “senior pastor” or “the pastor.”  This carries with it, at the very least, doubt about whether or not “non-senior” pastors may be women.  At the most, it clearly implies that women may be “non-senior” pastors.

The central portion of the article’s argument are in these sentences (emphases added):

While I affirm the value of originalism and authorial intent when it comes to matters of interpretation regarding the meaning of particular words and phrases contained in our denominational doctrinal statement, a brief look back in time, courtesy of the Baptist Press (BP) archives, illustrates why some might have questions when applying that principle to our present dilemma.  In a May 23, 2000, BP article, various members of the BFM Study Committee that authored the revisions referred to the proposed change to Article VI as relating only to the office of senior pastor. Interestingly, even the headline of this article explicitly references ‘senior pastor roles.’

A subsequent June 14, 2000, BP article reported on a news conference held following the adoption of the revised BFM where ‘committee members cautioned the press against misunderstanding Baptist polity, noting that the convention’s vote is not binding upon local churches.’ This article quoted the late Adrian P. Rogers, chair of the committee, who stated that the BFM ‘is not a creed’ but ‘is a statement of what most of us believe,’ including regarding what the BP article identified as ‘the new BFM’s stance against women serving as senior pastors.’

The core contention of this part of the June 27, 2022 F-P article is that “various members” of the BF&M study committee themselves meant and referred to the “office of pastor” as only that of a senior pastor role.  But can that contention be backed up by the two BP articles cited?

The quotations above are split out into two paragraphs (not following the original form of the F-P article) to highlight the two older BP articles sourced by the 2022 F-P article’s argument.  Both of these BP articles will be examined in turn.

The May 23, 2000 Baptist Press Article

The first article referenced is titled “Culture, not Bible or Baptists, changed, leaders say of men in senior pastor roles.”

1st Use of “Senior” – Headline

There are three uses of the word “senior” in this May 23, 2000 BP article.  The first is in the headline.  But the title’s use must be squared with the article’s content.  The focus is on this sentence in the June 27, 2022 F-P article – “In a May 23, 2000, BP article, various members of the BFM Study Committee that authored the revisions referred to the proposed change to Article VI as relating only to the office of senior pastor.”  Does the May 23, 2000 BP article accurately reflect this charge?  No, it doesn’t. 

2nd Use of “Senior” – Misquoting and Interpreting a Source Article

Examining the second use of “senior” in this BP article shows misquoting and editorializing of another source, a Kansas City Star article from May 19, 2000 – “S. Baptists see limits on women as pastors”, pgs. A1 and A14.  The BP article asserts (emphasis added):

Jane Ann Welch, a music minister at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Overland Park, Kan., told the Kansas City Star that women do not have a senior-pastor role. ‘[Women] have a wonderful opportunity to be used in their gift areas on staff,’ she said. ‘But I do think the Bible does refer to men in that pastoral position.’

Note that “senior-pastor role” are the BP article’s words.  The actual source Kansas City Star article, however, does not have Jane Anne Welch either saying these words, “senior-pastor role,” nor does the Kansas City Star article editorialize that she does. The BP article also changes a word in Welch’s quote.  As quoted below, Welch says “pastoral role,” while the BP article changes this to “pastoral position.” 

What the source KC article does say is this (A14, column 1): 

Women do have a ‘wonderful opportunity to be used in their gift areas on staffs,’ said Jane Ann Welch, minister of music at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Overland Park, ‘But I do think the Bible does refer to men in that pastoral role.’

Though the May 23, 2000 BP article does accurately quote most of Welch’s words from the KC Star, the BP article adds is own interpretive editorializing that does not match Welch’s words. This is bad reporting.

So, the second (first non-headline) use of “senior” originates as editorializing of a source quote by the Baptist Press article.

Also—why would quoting an otherwise random church member with no connection to the BF&M update somehow be relevant to understanding what “various members of the BF&M Study Committee” meant by the change to Article VI? 

3rd (Final) Use of “Senior” – Editorial Interpretations, Not Direct Quotes

The third and final (second non-headline) use of “senior” likewise is not based on a purported direct quote, but is also editorializing.  In this case by both the BP article and the source article. 

The May 23, 2000 BP article later says:

In an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Mohler also noted that few Southern Baptist churches have had women as senior pastors…

This particular line in the BP article is doubly-confusing.  First, the sourced article does not directly quote Al Mohler – so why does BP say that Mohler “noted” this?  The Louisville Courier-Journal (LC-J) article that the May 23 BP article references is from May 19, 2000 (“Southern Baptists plan rejects women as pastors”, A1 & A4).  This article, on page A4, asserts:

Mohler said that women can work as assistant pastors, but, ‘there is no doubt that in the New Testament, particularly in the writings of Paul,’ that men and women’s roles are ‘not identical but complementary.’

He said it is ‘not an issue’ for most Southern Baptist churches because few have ever ordained women, ‘For nearly 2000 years, Christian churches unanimously understood the preaching office as restricted to men, he said.

However, there is no direct quote nor reference to support the claim that Dr. Mohler said “women can work as assistant pastors.”  Some may say this is a “summarizing”, but of what?  Certainly not of words quoted by Mohler in the article.  When quoted, Mohler does not use such language.

Additionally, why the emphasis on “complementary” roles between men and women if there is literally only one position on a church’s staff restricted to men, but women are otherwise identical in “assistant” roles bearing the same title “pastor”?  If original intent matters, then was such a limited, narrow conception of “complementary” meant by the framers of the BF&M 2000? Anyone familiar with what “complementary” meant then, and now, would see how false this is.

Regardless, the second source of confusion in the May 23, 2000 BP article is how it changes the LC-J’s words.  In the second paragraph above from the LC-J article, it says “…Southern Baptist Churches because few have ever ordained women…,” but the BP article changes this to “few Southern Baptist Churches have had women as senior pastors.” At the very least, the concept of “ordained women” and “women as senior pastors” are not necessarily equivalent.  Ordination can also be for assistant pastors, missionaries, or other positions. This is again poor reporting by the BP and a second instance of changing the source quoted.

So, the source LC-J article uses the phrases “assistant pastors” and “ordained women” (neither from a direct quote), while the BP article editorializes these as “senior pastors.”  So the second, and final, non-headline use of “senior” in this BP article also originates as editorializing.  In all three cases, from the headline to the content, this article insinuates a word that is no where quoted from BF&M Study Committee members.

Accurate Reporting Did Not Use “Senior”

But what did Dr. Mohler actually say at the time?  When directly quoted, in the very next paragraph of the LC-J article on A4 (see pic above), Mohler offers no “senior pastor” qualification, but asserts that the “preaching office is restricted to men.” 

Even the BP article of May 23, 2000 directly quotes Dr. Mohler as saying,

‘It is those who ordain and call women as pastors who have to explain why they would move in a direction opposed to Scripture,’ Mohler told The New York Times. ‘One of the issues that is important here is that the opposition to the idea of a woman serving as a pastor is not culturally driven. It is a matter of biblical conviction.’ 

Here, when both the LC-J and BP offer direct quotes, there are no qualifications such as “senior” or “the” pastor.

Also—if it’s true that Mohler and other Committee members believed at the time that only the “senior” pastor must be restricted to men, and if they also said that the “preaching office is restricted to men,” then the natural conclusion is that only a church’s one senior pastor may preach.  Is this really the conclusion that advocates of the “senior-only” understanding are willing to accept?

The May 23, 2000 BP article also quotes Mohler from two other sources, a NY Times article of May 19, 2000 (“Southern Baptists Consider Check on Women as Pastors,” pg. A16, behind paywall) and a Religion News Service article of the same day (Note: the date on the web version is incorrect).  Both of these other news articles have an extensive discussion of the proposed change to the BF&M’s Article VI.  However, neither news article uses the word “senior” anywhere in them.  The office of pastor is referred to without any qualification. 

In summary, the BP article from May 23, 2000 editorialized its own use of the word “senior” pastor, without any basis in the cited sources. Three members of the Study Committee are quoted in the article, Chairman Adrian Rogers, Richard Land, and Al Mohler.  Not one of them is directly quoted as limiting the office of pastor to only a single “senior” occupant. 

So, when the BP First-Person article of June 27, 2022 asserts that “various members of the BFM Study Committee…referred…only to the office of senior pastor,” there is clearly no grounds for this charge from the first BP article the F-P article cited.

The June 14, 2000 Baptist Press Article

The second article cited by the June 22, 2022 F-P article is titled “Baptist Faith & Message Committee members say report embraces biblical authority.”  With respect to the issue of the meaning and intent of the updated Article VI, the June 17, 2022 F-P article says (emphasis added):

This article quoted the late Adrian P. Rogers, chair of the committee, who stated that the BFM ‘is not a creed’ but ‘is a statement of what most of us believe,’ including regarding what the BP article identified as ‘the new BFM’s stance against women serving as senior pastors.’

This run-on sentence creates some confusion.  It starts with setting up a quote from Dr. Rogers about the role of the BF&M, but adds to it an interpretation of the update to Article VI about pastors.  But these two parts give the impression that Dr. Rogers was the source of both quotes.  Granted, the phrase “the BP articled identified” would indicate a desire not to pin the following quote on Dr. Rogers, but a casual reading could, and has, caused many to think that this is what Dr. Rogers himself said.

But what was the source of the phrase “women serving as senior pastors”?  To help clarify, what is in the BP article for June 14, 2000 are two separate paragraphs:

‘We don’t have the right, the authority or the power to limit anybody,’ Rogers noted. ‘We would resist that. What we are stating is what we believe mainstream Baptists believe. … It is not a creed. It is a statement of what most of us believe.’

Other media questions focused on the new BFM’s stance against women serving as senior pastors.

Notice that the actual reporting in the BP article clearly separates between the quotes of Dr. Rogers and the sentence with “other media questions.”  If the BP article’s reporting is taken at face value, it appears that it was other media (reporters) who asked about “senior” pastors.  Or it may be another instance of the BP editorializing that this is what other reporters were asking about. In either case, clearly Dr. Rogers is not the source of the phrase “women serving as senior pastors.”

Regardless, this is the only use of the word “senior” anywhere in this June 14, 2000 BP article.  And that one use is not from any direct quotations by members of the Study Committee.  On what basis then could this be offered as evidence that “various members of the BFM Study Committee that authored the revisions referred to the proposed change to Article VI as relating only to the office of senior pastor”?  This is not an accurate conclusion drawn from the sources. 

So, the second (and final) BP article cited by the June 27, 2022 F-P article also does not support this contention.

Dr. Mohler’s 2000 Op-Ed on the Updated BF&M – Not “Senior”

But what was said at the time by the members of the Study Committee?  Dr. Mohler published an Op-Ed in the NY Times a week after the 2000 Convention, basically a brief explanation and commentary on the changes to the BF&M.  In this June 19, 2000 Op-Ed By Mohler in the NY Times (Against an Immoral Tide), there is no mention of “senior” pastor when talking about the update to Article VI about the “office of pastor.” 

Dr. Mohler references “arguments over women in the pastorate….” And that “fewer than 1 percent of our churches have ever called a woman to preach.”  He does not refer to some “senior” post only, but to the primary function of the office of pastor, the preaching of the Word.  And lest the role of pastor be understood as limited to “preaching,” more from Dr. Mohler and others will be noted below that the office of pastor includes preaching, teaching, spiritual leadership, and oversight for a congregation.

This NYT Op-Ed was only five days after the BP’s June 14, 2000 article.  It clearly expressed, in his own words, what Dr. Mohler understood about the BF&M updates.  Why not include a reference to it when assessing contemporary understanding?  If it’s important to know what the framers of the updated BF&M meant at the time by “the office of pastor,” Mohler’s contemporary Op-Ed provides clarity, and without any need to editorialize or change quotes from sources.     

Leaders of the BF&M 2000 Committee Respond

Mohler, Land, Kelley Issue Statement – July 29, 2022

In light of these assertions, a group of leaders from the BF&M 2000 Study committee issued a public statement via Baptist Press on July 29, 2022.  The group of three that responded had been the joint authors of a 2007 Lifeway Bible Study on the BF&M 2000 (reprinted 2022). 

The article, “FIRST-PERSON:  A statement regarding the Baptist Faith & Message and the word ‘pastor’, by Albert Mohler, Chuck Kelley, Richard Land,” among other things, says:

As Dr. Rogers stated and the committee concurred, the one word that virtually all Southern Baptists understand is the word pastor.  The language means that a pastor is one who fulfills the pastoral office and carries out the pastor’s functions. Thus, the statement means simply what it states, that the office of pastor is to be held only by men as qualified by Scripture. In the Baptist understanding, office and function are inseparable. As we wrote in the commentary on the BF&M, “Central to the pastor’s role is the responsibility to preach and teach.” Pastors also provide spiritual leadership and oversight for the congregation.

When the confession was adopted and revised in 2000, Dr. Rogers and the committee made clear that it does not speak to every job category and ministerial title within a local church. But it does specifically define what the Southern Baptist Convention means by pastor, and what we believe the Bible teaches. The word pastor should be reserved for those who fulfill a pastor’s function and office.

Not a New Understanding

The description of the pastor’s role in this 2022 statement is not a revision from earlier understandings.  For example, the same language can be found from 100 years earlier, in the 1919 Fraternal Address from the SBC (published 1920).  Almost certainly authored primarily by E. Y. Mullins, Article V on the church says:

The officers of a church are bishops or elders and deacons. In the New Testament the words ‘bishop’ and ‘elder’ are used inter-changeably. The duties of the bishop or elder are teaching and preaching, and the spiritual guidance of the church.

Additionally, it reflects what the SBC’s first President and foundational leader also taught about the office of pastor.  In 1846, W. B. Johnson published The Gospel Developed, a small book on Baptist church order.  In Chapter VIII he summarizes Scripture’s teaching on the office of pastor, and says in part (emphases added):

1. That over each church of Christ in the apostolic age, a plurality of rulers was ordained, who were designated by the terms elder, bishop, overseer, pastor, with authority in the government of the flock.

4. That for the right discharge of these duties, there was a division of labor among them. Whilst all were rulers, some, in addition to the authority of office, labored in the word and doctrine, that is, preached the gospel of Christ.

6. That these rulers were all equal in rank and authority, no one having a preeminence over the rest. This satisfactorily appears from the fact, that the same qualifications were required in all, so that though some labored in word and doctrine, and others did not, the distinction between them was not in rank, but in the character of their service.

Furthermore, W. B. Johnson pointed out the only proper place for the idea of an additional, separate or “third” office of “senior,” “lead,” or “chief” pastor – Jesus Himself:

The spiritual overseer governs the church, not by the laws which he or the members pass, but by those, which the chief Shepherd and Bishop establishes.

If anyone is looking for some third church office of “Senior Pastor,” or “Chief Shepherd,” it is to be found here – in the office that only Christ can fill.  All other local church pastors are merely under-shepherds, and there is one office that may be filled by as many men as a church has the need and means for, with each one subject to the same qualifications. Surely, this must be undisputed in the SBC.

BF&M 2000 Framers Consistent Over Time

The July 29, 2022 statement from Mohler, Kelley, and Land does not contain any contradictions with the earlier statements of these three leaders, and further clarifies what should have been easily inferred at the time the BF&M Article VI was updated.  It repeats what these three authored in the 2007 Lifeway Bible Study, which, among other things, says:

The New Testament words that Baptists identify with the pastoral office include terms translated as bishop, elder, and pastor.  Each term adds to our understanding of the pastoral office and the pastor’s responsibility

Central to the pastor’s role is the responsibility to preach and teach…Above all else, the pastor must preach and teach the Word of God.

The office of pastor is spoken of in the singular, “the pastor,” because the responsibilities and nature of that Scriptural church position is the focus of the discussion.  And there is no hint of the word or idea of a singular “senior” pastor, or of limitation on the number of holders of this office in a church.  Also, these three Committee members in this Lifeway study are clear that the one word “pastor” was intended to comprehend the full range of titles and responsibilities as found in Scripture.

In 2009, Dr. Mohler again wrote about the restriction on women as pastors without reference to “senior” only.  Again, in 2018, Mohler spoke extensively (part 1) about women as pastors, and not just to one “senior” position.  He also drew the connection between allowing women as pastors and the slide into the affirmation of sodomy by the liberal SBC-splinter denomination, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).  

And in May 2021, Mohler again emphasized the comprehensive nature of “the office of pastor”:

More recently, less than twenty years after that clear statement, some Southern Baptists have sought to distinguish between the office of pastor and the act of preaching, thus allowing women to preach to the congregation, but arguing that the role of ‘senior pastor’ is still reserved for men…You will also find no reference to a ‘senior’ pastor. A pastor is a pastor and ‘the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.’

The second reason is just as simple. In Baptist ecclesiology, office and function are precisely the same thing. Question: Who is your preacher? Answer: Whoever is doing the preaching. Baptists rightly resist any distinction between office and function, believing such a distinction to be foreign to the New Testament

Some have said that the July 29, 2022 statement is a “1800 u-turn” from the intentions in 2000 of the updated Article VI.  It seems hard to sustain this in the face of the previous 15 years, at least, of similar language by the leaders of that update.  And even harder given how the record in 2000 was distorted by Baptist Press reporting. 

But, as one critic of Drs. Mohler, Land, and Kelley rhetorically asked, “why would BP say that?”  Was it because “it’s what the BFM committee has been saying they meant!”?  As has been shown, not at all.  Rather, was it really because of presuppositions based on personal, or even common, descriptive experience? 

If so, we as Southern Baptists, as Christians, are called instead to follow the Scripture’s prescriptive principles, and not just a “common understanding” based on our experience or cultural expectations.

The Contradictions of “Senior” Pastor Only

Why would a word and concept not found in the BF&M 2000’s Article VI, nor expressed by the update’s framers, be so easily inferred by some?  Why would some, including in the pages of the Baptist Press, conclude from the phrase “the office of pastor” that only a single holder, a single man, is the natural meaning of this language? 

This is usually justified by the “common experience” of “most” SBC churches in 2000, that the majority of churches had one pastor, one man performing all the Scriptural functions required to lead a church.  If so, then it makes sense that discussion of this office would often be in the singular. 

But there are no grounds to infer the additional assumption that the Scriptural office of pastor is limited to only one “senior” occupant.  That if and when additional pastors, or elders, are appointed by a church, that they actually fill some different Scriptural church office with different qualifications. Such an assumption poses some contradictions for its advocates:

1 – Why use the word “senior” if “the office” or “the pastor” already incorporates the idea of one “senior” pastor?  The use of qualifiers is intended to mark out distinctions.  But if the “common understanding” has no distinction between “office” and “senior,” there would be no need to use it.  But clearly, some did and continue to use the idea of a “senior” pastor in distinction from “non-senior” pastors.  But the language of Article VI does not, nor have the leaders of that update affirmed, a bi-furcation of the office of pastor.

The BF&M 2000 uses plural language when describing the officers of the church – “Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.”  There are two offices, two sets of officers.  If “pastors” refers to one holder of the office only, then the language requires the same understanding of only one deacon per church. But who believes this?  In effect, the argument for a “senior” pastor role restricted to qualified men, and an additional “non-senior” pastorate open to women, creates a third set of “scriptural officers.”

The second sentence in Article VI that describes the offices/officers of a church says “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” But there is no qualifier here, nothing to distinguish this “office” from the same office referenced in the first sentence.  Interpreting “office” in this second sentence as referring only to a “senior” pastor introduces a contradiction between these two sentences of Article VI.  “Pastors and deacons” in the first sentence becomes interpreted as “senior pastors, non-senior pastors, and deacons.”  But a plain reading of language cannot support this.

The singular “office of pastor,” when speaking of its restriction to qualified men only, is clearly not creating a new office, but is simply further clarifying the qualifications for the office of pastor.  To read into Article VI’s language a third church office is simply not an honest reading. As some have noted, “cleaving” the office of pastor into “senior” and “lesser” pastors does violence to the office itself.

2 – As noted above in reviewing the June 14, 2000 BP article, what if Article VI’s restriction of the pastorate does refer only to one “senior” pastor?  If so, then the responsibilities of this one holder of the office include everything under the role of “teaching, preaching, and spiritual leadership and oversight,” every function performed by elders and overseers—all of these can only be performed by the one holder of this one office! 

Ironically then, if proponents of the “senior” only myth are right, they end up compounding the restriction on women – there would be no remaining room for any additional men to perform this role in a church, let alone women.  What room is there left then for women as non-senior pastors?  The entire concept that “the office of pastor” must mean only one “senior” pastor simply collapses under its own weight.

3 – These two things can’t be said at the same time – “Few churches had multiple pastors in 2000” and “It’s always been understood that only one pastor is limited to men, other pastors can be women”.  Was the common experience in 2000 to have multiple pastoral staff or not?  If it was, then why didn’t the BF&M recognize that fact by zeroing in on the “Senior” pastor only? Why does Article VI not make a clear distinction between “senior” and “non-senior” pastors?

This can be tested by applying it to other male pastors added to a church’s staff.  Would those arguing the “Senior” only restriction for Article VI likewise affirm a different set of Biblical qualifications for other male pastors that are not “Senior”?  Either all of the qualifications apply to all pastors, or they don’t.  And whatever qualifications apply to the “senior” pastor must apply to all other pastors – including that they be men only.

Again, as W. B. Johnson was said, “…these rulers were all equal in rank and authority, no one having a preeminence over the rest. This satisfactorily appears from the fact, that the same qualifications were required in all…”  But to argue that “senior” pastors alone bear the qualification of being men only introduces at least two sets of qualifications for pastor.

Conclusion – Prescriptive Principles over Descriptive Presuppositions

But this focus on the use of a word, “senior,” which nowhere appears in the BF&M 2000, misses the point.  This focus is misplaced, a distraction away from what should be guiding our understanding of Scripture and our practice.  Ultimately, those arguing for a “senior” pastoral office, distinct from “non-senior” pastors, do so from the basis of a descriptive presupposition.  They are not following the prescriptive principles put forth by Scripture, and as witnessed to by the SBC’s historic teaching, and the words of the BF&M and its framers. At the very worst, they are redefining a “non-senior pastor” to be anyone who serves a church in any way, robbing Christ’s church of the government and offices that He prescribed.

The only way out of the muddle of these contradictions is to recognize that:

  • The Bible does not limit the number of pastors/elders/overseers that a church may have.
  • Anyone called to be a pastor must meet the same Scriptural qualifications as all other pastors, including that they be men only. 
  • The SBC has historically, and consistently, understood and taught this. 
  • Doctrine and practice are not derived from “common” experience—rather, they are derived from the Bible’s prescriptive principles. 
  • The words of the BF&M 2000’s Article VI mean what they say, and do not mean what they don’t say. 

Finally, our rhetoric must match what we know is true.  To try to trim our language, to speak only of a “senior” pastor in an attempt to lessen the shame the World may heap on this doctrine, is to be dishonest. 

In 1997 a documentary was released about the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC, focusing on Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and in particular the role of women in SBC churches.  In that documentary, Dr. Molly Marshall, a liberal former teacher at SBTS, understood the difference between the rhetoric of “senior” pastor and the truth of what was intended at the time the BF&M was updated.  As she said, the focus on “senior” was just rhetoric — what was really meant was “any kind of pastor.” 

If one is looking for the “intent” behind the updates in the BF&M 2000, this quote from Dr. Marshall is crystal clear, as is the conjunction of the doctrinal issues she rightly ties together. Though opposed to the BF&M 2000’s updates, she accuratley assesed where our Convention was going in the years leading up to the Study Commmitee.  (It is instructive to observe that the doctrines she correlates in that clip, 3 years before the Study Committee, are all reflected in some form by the updated BF&M 2000.)

In light of all this, it is concerning to see so many in today’s SBC repeat the false rhetoric of “senior” pastor that even liberals did not fall for 25 years ago. How prescient Dr. Marshall was in seeing through the false arguments of those who object to ensuring our Convention only cooperates with churches that do not “affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as pastor of any kind.”

These resources on the SBC Amendment site go further into each of these prescriptive principles:

Part 1: The Scriptures address the pastoral office, not just/only a “Senior” pastor.
Part 2: The Substantial (historic) teaching of prominent SBC leaders addresses the pastoral office, not just a “Senior” pastor.
Part 3: The Statement of Faith (BF&M 2000) addresses the pastoral office, not just a “Senior” pastor.
Part 4: The Sources (authors) of the BF&M 2000 address the pastoral office, not just a “Senior” pastor.